An organization representing Iowa’s 188 hospitals is reporting they’re providing more than a billion dollars in uncompensated health care. The Iowa Hospital Association states charity care and bad debt increased $97 million dollars last year or about 10-percent more than in 2011. The association’s CEO, Kirk Norris, says hospitals are being squeezed by increasing charity care cases and by Medicare and Medicaid government programs which don’t fully reimburse hospitals for health care’s actual costs.
Norris says that forces hospitals to be transfer agents — passing those losses to other payers.
Iowa hospitals employ about 70,000 people, according to Norris, adding more than $6 billion to the state’s economy.